Understanding COVID-19 vaccine confidence in people living with HIV in Canada: a pan-Canadian survey


BACKGROUND: While the advent of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the general population has led to mass vaccination roll-outs, certain populations may lack vaccine confidence. Our objectives were to determine demographic factors associated with taking at least 1 COVID-19 vaccine, and to determine whether there were particular elements of vaccine hesitancy associated with vaccine behaviour.
METHODS: With community members, we developed a study questionnaire with items from the validated National Advisory Committee on Immunization Acceptability Matrix. PLWH were recruited via social media and community-based organizations from January-April 2022.Descriptive statistics were used to summarize results and compare responses between PLWH who have received vs those who have not received COVID-19 vaccine(s). For each participant, scores on the 5-point Likert scale were added together (reversing for direction, as necessary). Logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine uptake such as age, sex, gender, and responses to the vaccine confidence questions.
RESULTS: 205 individuals completed the survey and indicated whether or not they received>1 vaccine dose. Mean age was 47±14 (SD) years and 73% were male. Eighty percent had completed at least some highschool. Mean VHS scores were 33 ± 17 for the 153 individuals, and 17± 6 for the 21 individuals, who did and did not take at least one COVID-19 vaccine, respectively. Univariate analyses revealed that the odds of taking at least one vaccine dose were increased 2.80-fold [95% CI 1.91, 4.41] with each increase in age of 10 years (p<0.0001). No effect was observed for sex or education. Individuals accepted COVID-19 vaccines more for altruistic reasons (i.e., protection of community) than individual reasons (i.e., protection of self). Individuals who felt that the pandemic would linger on longer were more likely to accept the vaccine than those who did not feel the pandemic would last that long.
CONCLUSIONS: Older PLWH and those who anticipated that the pandemic would be prolonged in duration were more likely to accept COVID-19 vaccines. PLWH appear to accept COVID-19 vaccines more for altruistic rather than individual reasons.